Those who have been to my other site know my predilection for things kitschy, especially the faux-Polynesian craze of the '50s. It breaks my heart to know that so many wondrous places with peaked grass roofs, bamboo bars and insanely colorful tropical beverages no longer exist.
Damon's, however, is still here. It started on Central Avenue in 1937 and moved one street over to its current location back in 1980. It retains its tiki theme and its old-school feel, with idyllic murals on the walls, an outrigger dangling from the ceiling, grass-tufted bamboo bars, and lighting nearly low enough to make it all invisible. The music is faint and often Hawai'ian.
They have Mai Tais, of course, strong and respectable. The garlic parmesan chips are crunchy, flaky threats to your sodium intake. The side salads are small, chopped affairs with lettuce that is perhaps not the farmers' market selection, ruddy with Russian dressing and tossed with beet slivers and celery. You eat it anyway.
Years ago my friend's dad always used to get the Patty Melt on rye with grilled onions, and I can vouch for its juicy splendor. Their steak sandwich is justly famous. The BBQ chicken sandwich is decent, not too sweet. The fries are crisp and dusted with seasoned salt.
Follow up with Kona Coffee Mudd Pie and another Mai Tai. Your date, or your business associate, or whomever you brought with you to this murky, moody paradise, will thank you.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock, American )
People have mixed feelings about Home... probably much like people have mixed feelings about their home.
It's meant to be comfort food; it's a bit hip, a bit hippie, a bit homey, a bit pretentious (well, at least some of the patrons we've seen are), and dog-friendly. There's a big stone fountain in the middle of the courtyard, its basin filled with milling koi and its edges populated with plastic dinosaurs. The floor is one big outdoor deck dotted with trees and heat lamps and cozy booths. Atmosphere-wise, it wins.
We lean toward well-assembled things like their sandwiches, wraps and salads: the Chicken Pomodoro sandwich, the Jerk Chicken Wrap, the fairly good mac & cheese. The pasta is fair, and it might be wise to refrain from ordering heavy prepared dishes like BBQ ribs or pork chops, because most of the things that people who hate Home complain about are those dishes and whatever happened to them when they had it delivered. We've never had it delivered, so can't tell you about that.
Breakfast they do nicely: breakfast burrito, french toast. For some reason the absurdly simple breakfast quesadilla fills me with joy: a tomato-basil tortilla is stuffed with scrambled eggs and guacamole. There's a little salsa, a little sour cream, and that's it. Simplicity and warmth.
The bar makes good drinks, albeit with a sense of trendiness. However, I won't say no to a blended Pet Monkey.
At night the waiters are eagerly awaiting whatever destination they're going to after work, so prepare for that. For lunch, Los Feliz wakes up around eleven-ish, and it gets crowded. Service can be spotty but at least it's friendly. There's a rainy-day special as well (but it better be actually raining, not just threatening to).
There's a newer location where Rudolpho's used to be on Fletcher. It's not really the same; it's got a dark & sultry bar area, lots of booths, and a few tables in a room with some nature murals on the wall, and a large outdoor area. It all feels a little more clubbish, and you're basically forced to valet park. It's not bad, but we'll probably stick with the Los Feliz joint.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Los Feliz/Silver Lake/Echo Park, American )
Hip Euro Joint on the West Side
640 North Robertson Blvd. (between Melrose & Santa Monica)
Phone: 310-659-2009 | map
This was another of those places where I'd see the strangest things. I used to come here for lunch, and I have never been disappointed.
When you get here, relax and enjoy the hip Euro-jazz-lounge music playing. Watch people and their dogs go by. Observe expensive cars try to parallel-park next to other expensive cars without bumping them and setting off their alarms, and failing. Take a cruel delight in chain-smoking people wearing Ed Hardy clothing getting out of said cars, walking out of view to go shopping on Robertson, and returning a half hour later to grab the ticket their car has received because they didn't put enough money in the meter.
But, ah! Hedley's. They have a reliable turkey burger, but try whatever specials they have on a rumpled sheet of paper; the kitchen has a subtle way with seasonings and spices that turn everything into an experience.
I love their grilled chicken salad, with the best honey-mustard dressing I've yet encountered. They can make a simple black-bean-and-cheese quesadilla into brilliance, and a tofu breakfast burrito (at right) into a warm, stomach-filling transcendence. They can make a tilapia filet shine. The desserts are sorely tempting.
Occasionally during a busy hour they can get a bit harried, and the parking on Robertson can be an adventure (try around the corner on Melrose, but be prepared to watch many quarters disappear into the meters).
Hedley's always makes me happy, and I'm giddy to see them still going strong, with new, hipper, darker decor.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), West Side/West Hollywood, Vegetarian/Vegan, Healthy/Organic, American )